The RI server is down- hopefully the Slashdot effect of lots of people with money!
I’m sitting in Faraday’s lecture theatre where electricity was first demonstrated, taking part in yet another Royal Institution near-death experience. You need to drop your simplistic idea that the RI is about the Christmas Lectures we all know and love: it runs by far the largest UK science outreach programme, hitting around …
the linked 'easy to join' website is down...
HTTP Status 500 -
type Exception report
descriptionThe server encountered an internal error () that prevented it from fulfilling this request.
java.lang.NumberFormatException: For input string: "8962a"
note The full stack traces of the exception and its root causes are available in the GlassFish Server Open Source Edition 3.1 logs.
and it was great fun. Included day out to the RFH archive of diseased body parts, trip down coal mine(sadly now closed), lasers demonstrations of things that go pop, bang and burn in exciting ways for a young chap.
I was even on TV at the christmas lectures and the BBC put me on the trailer while wiping my nose very thourougly with the palm of my hand (they were like that).
I can recommend it to anyone who has any kind of scientific enquiry. Lectures were much more fun than school as they things were demonstrated as well as discussed.
Not clear on the El Reg angle but would like to big up the place all the same.
Sadly I have to agree with this having been approached by them in various roles. All too often the reach out is for funds for the building and not for science and education. Promotion of what they do well is limited and centralised and with limited follow up on issues of true public interest.
Take a look at the pitch on corporate membership - its primarily about the ability to hire the venue. I doubt many would feel RI branding at the moment is a pull. Pretty certain anyone with £10k could find a venue in London ...
Its a real shame - I love what they do but they do need more regionalisation and better promotion and public engagement to justify such a centre. If they did that it might look like a hub and not a meeting room.
That's a fair point, the building is a two edged sword (#Bad metaphor at line 0)
The Trustees are a bit resentful at having to run what their leadership referred to as a "catering operation", ie renting the rooms out. They should be used for being a science hub as you say, but the finances don't allow for that.
Yes ,pitches for cash have been far from well focused and the TV scientists, Brian Cox, Henry Winston et al are beavering away at finding specific, well defined deliverables that sponsors can contribute towards.
That makes sense and the L'Oreal and Microsoft partnerships seem to have worked well, but the Ri needs several of those.
Personally, I like the idea of upgrading the Theatrical skills of science teachers, this has a high gearing since its pretty cheap to help someone who understands the topic explain it better and that will upgrade their productivity big time.
Aside from the lack of family membership, it also seems that most of the events are on weeknights. Fine if you're a Londoner, but for those of us a bit further out (Home Counties etc) it gets a bit more complex. Many a time we've had good days out in London on a Saturday or Sunday (Science Museum, London Aquarium/Eye, Nat Hist Museum, Museum of London etc etc) with the kids, but a week (schoolnight) lecture would be a no-go.
So in addition to family membership, how about some events/lectures on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon that could involve (and be aimed at) those younger proto-scientists too?
@Dominic - sounds good, although as noted there are none on the website (at least none that haven't already happened) - how often do they occur?
Indeed a quick web search found me the page advertising the March one we just missed, and that page seems to have recommended content pointing to two of them in 2009? Hardly inspires confidence in the institution.
Looking through the listed upcoming events, there's only one more listed as family friendly (An evening with Simon Mayo and Itch on Sat 18th May 6-7:30pm). And aside from one item there's nothing at all listed beyond the end of June - not even the Christmas lectures. Surely they must be planned more than a couple of months in advance?
I live an hour or so from London and have 3 boys who'd LOVE to do some of the things offered, but there seem to be no more family days this year, since one on 2nd March.
Happy to join if I find stuff to do that will make it worth me spending the £70 to get the mob to London on the train.
The Royal Institution has received an anonymous £4.4m donation to help ease its financial troubles.
It means that one of the oldest scientific organisations in the world can hang on to its home in Mayfair, London, for a while yet (continues)
I was there, the Beeb wasn't, also I can do numbers...
The Ri was about to hit a financial wall very hard and the 4MM averted that disaster, but the outgoing are structurally more than the income by about a million or so per year. Even that figure is only achieved my using rooms for corporate events rather than science education and the lack of cash means so many things it could and should be doing aren't being done.
The point of the Ri is to explain science to as wide an audience as possible, it doesn't exist merely to exist and the cash flow is so fragile that one day it will be hit by some rogue wave and going titsup.
Maybe you can all help keep Fry otherwise occupied by letting him read the scripts for the fundraising advertisments. That way, he'll be "contributing" his greatest gift... Gab.
Then perhaps they can put up a massive Van der Graf generator like at the Boston Museum of Science and use Fry as the target, get it all on video and use it as the main attraction.
It might even improve his hairstyle (or lack thereof).
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